This week, I’m back at it with worker wins, strikes, ‘suits, quiet quitting, and much, much more. Let’s get into it, baby!
Weyerhaeuser workers win big, new contract: On Monday, workers at Weyerhaeuser agreed to a new contract after 48 days of striking. The 1,192 covered workers will receive a 14% wage increase, 5.5% of which is immediate and retroactive to June 1. The new agreement includes a $3,000 signing bonus and an increase of the premium rate for swing, graveyard, and weekend work from $.60 to $1 an hour. They’ll have to start paying a small portion of insurance premiums, though, for the first time. NW Labor Press has more.
University of California prepares to strike: 48,000 academic workers at Cal are prepared to strike on November 14. One of their bargaining team members says, “After months at the bargaining table and 26 Unfair Labor Practices filed, we have no choice but to move towards a strike.”
48k academic workers at University of California set strike date for November 14 pic.twitter.com/6T2zeDMWGG— Michael Sainato (@msainat1) November 4, 2022
WSU student workers unionize: In other campus labor news, 1,500 student employees at Washington State University will now be represented by a union, as their vote was confirmed by the Washington State Public Employment Relations Commission. WSU-Coalition of Academic Student Employees hopes to improve working conditions such as “toxic work environments, discrimination, inadequate institutional support, and in too many cases, the prospect of being forced out of academia.” Until now, WSU was the only major public research university on the west coast without a student employee union.
Starbucks bargaining begins: As Starbucks Workers United begins bargaining with the company for contracts, they released a video explaining the process:
With a union, workers have the power to collectively bargain. This means that the boss HAS to negotiate with us over our working conditions, as equals. Listen to some of our National Bargaining Committee members talk about what bargaining is like & what we’re fighting for! pic.twitter.com/cuWSVYdUXF— Starbucks Workers United (@SBWorkersUnited) November 2, 2022
Elon Musk lays off half of Twitter: Elon Musk, the diamond mine heir and union-buster who was accused of sexual assault by a former employee, has now laid off roughly half of the company he tried to get out of buying. That move is illegal in California without 60 days’ notice, according to the WARN Act, so now he is being sued. Under the law, employees receive 60 days of pay and benefits, and the company can be subject to civil fines of as much as $500 per day.
Jeff Bezos sued for discrimination: Speaking of shitheads taking Ls, Jeffrey Bezos is being sued by a woman who worked as a housekeeper at his Seattle home. She claims she was subject to racial discrimination, refused rest breaks, and suffered from a UTI after not being allowed access to a bathroom. Bozo’s attorney, of course, says the lawsuit “lacks merit.”
Bo Burnham from the top rope: A video is being circulated of Bo Burnham providing startling clarity on the “new frontier” in America for folks like Musk and Bezos: your attention. As he says, “They’re coming for every second of your life.” The clip comes from a panel from three years ago called Self Esteem in the Age of Social Media. Check it out:
Wow. Didn’t know Bo Burnham was a real one. Couldn’t be more relevant pic.twitter.com/DOBEcUEVJQ— Read Jackson Rising by @CooperationJXN (@JoshuaPHilll) November 2, 2022
Productivity?! In this economy?! Yesterday, the LA Times ran an article dissecting the audacity of employers pushing “productivity” measures in the time of COVID (still 2,000 deaths a week), record company profits, and frequent mass layoffs.
Stripe lays off nearly 1,000: Speaking of those mass layoffs, we need to call it what it is. It’s not reducing go-forward roles or any other bullshit euphemism. The Seattle Times reported this week that Stripe “cut headcount.” How about: Stripe puts 1,000 people out of work. Fixed your headline for you.
Wage transparency law failing: Wage transparency went live in New York, and of course companies are complying with it in good faith, giving us workers the respect of advertising what their jobs will actually pay. Hold on, I’m getting an update:
With NYC's salary law now in place, I've been looking at some companies' salary ranges, & I can already see that the "good faith" part of the law is going to be tested.— Victoria M. Walker (@vikkie) November 1, 2022
A salary range of $50,000 to $145,000 is deeply unserious. (This is the New York Post Tech Reporter role, btw) pic.twitter.com/dstqZSI2Iq
NLRB focuses on surveillance: Looks like your boss might not be able to spy on you so much anymore. NLRB lead counsel Jennifer Abrazzo announced she will “urge the Board to apply the Act to protect employees, to the greatest extent possible, from intrusive or abusive electronic monitoring and automated management practices.”
But of course that doesn’t exactly fix everything:
Company Value: $178.9B— Fuck You I Quit🖕 (@fuckyouiquit) November 3, 2022
Net Income (Profit) Trailing Twelve Months: $14.952B
Number of Employees: 247,848
CEO Pay: $21,350,000
Wells Fargo could pocket $7,500,000,000 of that and afford to give every employee a $30k a year raise on top of what they already make.
Time to unionize
What else: Tillamook Creamery workers are voting on whether to stay union. Newsguild is on a one-day strike. NBC News reported on the many companies shutting down stores instead of bargaining with unions. Seattle ended COVID gig worker protections. Amy’s Kitchen joined the company of progressive-seeming companies who don’t respect workers’ right to organize. Washington is trying to stop the Kroger merger.
Banger time! With the documentary Moonage Daydream out in theaters now, here’s one of David Bowie’s best, “Life on Mars.” Here’s to life around here looking up, too. Have a great weekend.